Legislative Update – Supporting Foster Kids and Children’s Rights

http://www.SiritaLaw.com

February 29, 2008

UPDATE:

 

ITEM:  You did it.  Again.  The Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee heard our objections to the “stealth” foster care union amendment in HB 3145 and removed that provision from the bill.  They passed just the original tiered licensing for foster parents, which I support.  So call off the dogs and thank the HSC.  I haven’t seen the language in the latest version, but as of now I support 3145 as amended by HSC.

 

The HSC also heard 3205 and 2822 at the same hearing.  You can watch the video here: http://www.tvw.org/media/mediaplayer.cfm?evid=2008020226&TYPE=V&CFID=2908643&CFTOKEN=5ce0208aabd1cf1b-F785BEF5-3048-349E-4E904145790DA858&bhcp=1.  Testimony starts on foster care bills at the 00:24:00 mark.

 

ITEM:  And once more, folks you are needed.  We have another deadline.  These three important foster care issues have not yet been scheduled for a hearing in Senate Ways & Means.  If they don’t get heard and passed by Monday, they will be dead.

 

ACTION ITEMSAsk Chair Senator Prentice to give these bills hearings in Ways & Means:

 

Contact Ways and Means Committee Members:

Margarita Prentice - Chair (D)

prentice.margarita@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7616

Karen Fraser - Vice Chair, Capital Budget Chair (D)

fraser.karen@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7642

Craig Pridemore - Vice Chair, Operating Budget (D)

pridemore.craig@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7696

Joseph Zarelli - Ranking Minority Member (R)

zarelli.joseph@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7634

Dale Brandland (R)

brandland.dale@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7682

Mike Carrell (R)

carrell.michael@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7654

Darlene Fairley (D)

fairley.darlene@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7662

Brian Hatfield (D)

hatfield.brian@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7636

Mike Hewitt (R)

hewitt.mike@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7630

Steve Hobbs (D)

hobbs.steve@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7686

Jim Honeyford (R)

honeyford.jim@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7684

Karen Keiser (D)

keiser.karen@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7664

Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D)

kohl-welles.jeanne@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7670

Eric Oemig (D)

oemig.eric@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7672

Linda Evans Parlette (R)

parlette.linda@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7622

Marilyn Rasmussen (D)

rasmussen.marilyn@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7602

Debbie Regala (D)

regala.debbie@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7652

Pam Roach (R)

roach.pam@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7660

Phil Rockefeller (D)

rockefeller.phil@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7644

Mark Schoesler (R)

schoesler.mark@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7620

Rodney Tom (D)

tom.rodney@leg.wa.gov

(360) 786-7694

 

There is no time to waste.  Call or e-mail your representatives now to support foster kids.

 

Don’t know who your representatives are? Click here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

All e-mail addresses: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail

 

Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000

Even if you don’t know your district, the operators will find it for you.

When they ask to which representative, say “All of them!”

 

 

 

 

HB 3145 – Tiered licensing for Foster Parents

Status: Passed by HSC.  No fiscal impact so it goes directly to Rules.

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

3145 creates a certification and training for a specialized class of foster parents to care for high risk, high needs children.  These children are the most difficult to work with and require care givers with higher training and support.  With the HSC amendment, I have changed my position from CON back to PRO, as I said I would at the hearing.  A big thank you to all foster parents who showed up to testify on this bill – and I do mean all foster parents.  It takes a lot of courage to stand up before the Senate and tell your story.  I learned a lot listening to them.

 

Let me say again for the record: Although we disagreed on one issue, I have no animosity towards FPAWS.  The foster care provided by their members is nothing short of incredible.  The co-presidents, Steve and Danielle, work day in, day out with some of the most difficult high risk children in the system.  They have decades of experience as foster parents, CASA, and activists and my respect for that.  We continue to be allies in reforming foster care.

 

 

 

HB 3205 Promoting the long-term well-being of children

Status: Passed HSC, needs a hearing in Senate Ways and Means

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

This bill requires the department to file a termination of parental rights petition if a child has been in out-of-home care for 15 of the last 22 months.  The Attorney General’s office has filed a $1.5 million fiscal note to this bill, which is interesting – this means the AG is saying this bill will cost them more money to follow what has already been federal law for nine years under the Adoption Safe Families Act (ASFA) ’97. 

 

HB 3205 also establishes a process for entering voluntary out-of-home placement agreements for adoptive children in crisis.  Some children adopted out of foster care have issues that don’t surface for years, particularly in adolescence, and treatment costs bankrupt the adoptive family.

 

 

 

HB 2822 – Concerning the family and juvenile court improvement program.

Status: Passed HSC, needs a hearing in Senate Ways and Means

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

HB 2822 encourages reform of the family courts by creating a fund that is available to courts that:

 

 

 

HB 2679 – Improve educational outcomes for students in foster care

Status: Passed HSC, needs a hearing in Senate Ways and Means

 

ACTION NEEDED:

 

Directs the school districts to report to the legislature on the educational progress of foster children, and gives schools grant money to create programs to improve their educational outcomes. Grant money may be used for tutoring, counseling, extracurricular activities, school pictures, and yearbooks.  Moms and Dads usually pay for this stuff – but if you don’t have a mom or a dad, you just have to watch other kids get cool things.  This bill helps kids in foster care have a normal childhood.

 

 

Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000

Find out who are your legislators: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

E-mail addresses for all lawmakers: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail